August 6, 2015

DIFFA Hosts 4th Annual Picnic by Design Benefit


Nothing says summer in New York quite like a picnic overlooking the Hudson River. For its fourth annual end-of-summer fundraiser Picnic by Design, DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS whisked 250 design enthusiasts to the rooftop of Ramscale Studio for a mini vacation on the water.

The event sponsors were Ege, Robert Allen, Kravet, the New York Design Center, Quadrille, Poggenpohl, Hedgehouse, and URtensils with Interior Design signing on as media sponsor and editor in chief Cindy Allen serving as chairman of DIFFA. Light bites were provided by STK, Murray’s Cheese, and Fika with drinks by Cliffton Dry and Harlem Brewing Company. This year, 17 designers contributed baskets, and the event took on a noticeably different tone. As opposed to past years when attendees purchased baskets prior to the event, baskets were put up for silent auction during the event. It was a wise decision as the organization raised a record-breaking $40,000—that’s $5,000 more than last year.

Also new, five judges—Annie Block and Helene Oberman of Interior Design, Stephanie Goto of StephanieGoto, Barry Richards of Rockwell Group, Christophe Rammant of Ege, and Louise Vongerichten of Chefs Club—served as judges for honoring the best designed picnic baskets. Gensler and MoDMade NY took the top prize. Gensler’s design consisted of elegant felt nesting boxes with a variety of gourmet snacks and minimalist wood plates, while MoDMade went for a kookier idea. Their basket took the shape of giant headphones, with each end detaching to reveal embedded speakers perfect for summertime tunes. The third winning basket was a more subtle compilation by ArchivesID. An audience favorite—and the basket receiving the highest bid—was CetraRuddy’s geometric jewel-shaped box with items themed off of New York’s High Line park.

Annie Block, Interior Design deputy editor and a judge for the evening, commented, “It was inspiring and heartwarming to see the effort, ingenuity, and goodwill every one of the designers put toward their baskets and ultimately, toward DIFFA.” Even those who didn’t end up winning a box had a fun time. True night owls kept the party going at the rooftop of STK Downtown afterwards.

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